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Game

PlayStation VR2 will offer livestreaming support and a ‘Cinematic Mode’

Sony is finally ready to share early details of PlayStation VR2’s software experience, not just the hardware. The company has previewed a few key features for its PS5 VR headset, including livestreaming support. If you have a PS5 HD Camera, you can broadcast both gameplay and a view of yourself. As you might guess, that could be helpful for Twitch streamers, YouTubers and others who want to share their PSVR2 footage without relying on capture cards and green screens.

The company also explained how it will handle non-VR content. The PSVR2 headset will offer a 1080p “Cinematic Mode” that displays the PS5 interface and conventional games on a virtual screen at refresh rates between 24Hz and 120Hz. This is a very familiar experience if you’ve used VR before, but it will still be helpful if you’d rather not remove your headset to change system settings. Native VR content displays at 4,000 x 2040 with a 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate.

 Other known features exist primarily to prevent accidents. A “see-through” mode lets you quickly peek at the room to avoid a collision or find your controllers. You can also define a customized play area that will warn if you’re too close to the couch or TV. This also isn’t a novel concept, but it could prove crucial to apartment dwellers and anyone else with limited space for walk-around VR experiences.

There are still many more unknowns, such as the VR-native interface. Sony has promised that developers will “soon” have access to this latest experience, though, and it has teased upcoming details for the release date and more games. Don’t be shocked if you hear considerably more about PSVR2 in the near future.

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Game

PlayStation Plus will offer eight Yakuza games this year

Sony is bringing eight Yakuza games to PlayStation Plus this year as it looks to build out the revamped service’s library with notable third-party titles. Starting on August 2nd, subscribers on all three tiers will be able to snag Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PS4 and PS5. The other two games hitting the base Essential tier as part of August’s solid lineup are Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 (PS4 and PS5) and Little Nightmares (PS4).

At least for now, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be the only Yakuza game that will hit the Essential tier. Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 will join the Extra and Premium versions of the service in mid-August. Later this year, Yakuza 3 Remastered, Yakuza 4 Remastered and Yakuza 5 Remastered will land on the Premium tier. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life will hit Extra and Premium in the coming months as well.

Unlike Microsoft does with Game Pass, Sony isn’t putting its own blockbuster games out on PlayStation Plus on the day they’re released. It has to find other ways to make the service attractive to lure in new users and keep existing members on board. Yakuza is a popular series and those who want to revisit the earlier games (or check them out for the first time) might be tempted to sign up to PS Plus or keep their subscription going to play through them all.

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Game

Nintendo Japan will offer benefits to employees in same-sex unions

Nintendo Japan will provide employees in same-sex domestic partnerships with the same benefits it offers to those in heterosexual unions, even though Japanese law does not currently recognize gay marriages. The company announced the policy in a July 12th update to its corporate social responsibility guidelines that was spotted by Go Nintendo (via Variety).

A new section titled “Introduction of a Partnership System” notes the policy has been in place since March 2021, and that the company has since begun recognizing common-law marriages in the same way as legal marriages. “At Nintendo, we want to create a work environment that supports and empowers each and every one of our unique employees,” the company said.

Additionally, the update notes that Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa sent a note to employees on gender diversity, asking workers to understand that their words and action can cause emotional pain, even if there was no harm intended. Nintendo says it’s also working on implementing new systems and training courses designed to create a more supportive working environment.

Among G7 nations, Japan is the only country that does not recognize same-sex marriage. While LGBT activists have made some breakthroughs in recent years, a court in Osaka upheld the country’s ban this past June. While there’s growing public support for legalizing same-sex marriage, LGBTQ individuals still frequently face discrimination, according to a 2020 survey. Of course, discrimination, particularly the kind that happens in the workplace, is not unique to Japan. You need only look at the all news coming out of Activision Blizzard – and before that Riot Games, Ubisoft and countless other examples – to know that gaming companies frequently fail to protect their most vulnerable employees.

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AI

The AI oracle of Delphi uses the problems of Reddit to offer dubious moral advice

Got a moral quandary you don’t know how to solve? Fancy making it worse? Why not turn to the wisdom of artificial intelligence, aka Ask Delphi: an intriguing research project from the Allen Institute for AI that offers answers to ethical dilemmas while demonstrating in wonderfully clear terms why we shouldn’t trust software with questions of morality.

Ask Delphi was launched on October 14th, along with a research paper describing how it was made. From a user’s point of view, though, the system is beguilingly simple to use. Just head to the website, outline pretty much any situation you can think of, and Delphi will come up with a moral judgement. “It’s bad,” or “it’s acceptable,” or “it’s good,” and so on.

Since Ask Delphi launched, its nuggets of wisdom have gone viral in news stories and on social media. This is certainly as its creators intended: each answer is provided with a quick link to “share this on Twitter,” an innovation unavailable to the ancient Greeks.

It’s not hard to see why the program has become popular. We already have a tendency to frame AI systems in mystical terms — as unknowable entities that tap into higher forms of knowledge — and the presentation of Ask Delphi as a literal oracle encourages such an interpretation. From a more mechanical perspective, the system also offers all the addictive certainty of a Magic 8-Ball. You can pose any question you like and be sure to receive an answer, wrapped in the authority of the algorithm rather than the soothsayer.

Ask Delphi isn’t impeachable, though: it’s attracting attention mostly because of its many moral missteps and odd judgements. It has clear biases, telling you that America is “good” and that Somalia is “dangerous”; and it’s amenable to special pleading, noting that eating babies is “okay” as long as you are “really, really hungry.” Worryingly, it approves straightforwardly racist and homophobic statements, saying it’s “good” to “secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” (a white supremacist slogan known as the 14 words) and that “being straight is more morally acceptable than being gay.” (That last example comes from a feature that allowed users to compare two statements. This seems to have been disabled after it generated a number of particularly offensive answers. We’ve reached out to the system’s creators to confirm this and will update if we hear back.)

Most of Ask Delphi’s judgements, though, aren’t so much ethically wrong as they are obviously influenced by their framing. Even very small changes to how you pose a particular quandary can flip the system’s judgement from condemnation to approval.

Sometimes it’s obvious how to tip the scales. For example, the AI will tell you that “drunk driving” is wrong but that “having a few beers while driving because it hurts no-one” is a-okay. If you add the phrase “if it makes everyone happy” to the end of your statement, then the AI will smile beneficently on any immoral activity of your choice, up to and including genocide. Similarly, if you add “without apologizing” to the end of many benign descriptions, like “standing still” or “making pancakes,” it will assume you should have apologized and tells you that you’re being rude. Ask Delphi is a creature of context.

Other verbal triggers are less obvious, though. The AI will tell you that “having an abortion” is “okay,” for example, but “aborting a baby” is “murder.” (If I had to offer an explanation here, I’d guess that this is a byproduct of the fact that the first phrase uses neutral language while the second is more inflammatory and so associated with anti-abortion sentiment.)

What all this ultimately means is that a) you can coax Ask Delphi into making any moral judgement you like through careful wording, because b) the program has no actual human understanding of what is actually being asked of it, and so c) is less about making moral judgements than it is about reflecting the users’ biases back to themselves coated in a veneer of machine objectivity. This is not unusual in the world of AI.

Ask Delphi’s problems stem from how it was created. It is essentially a large language model — a type of AI system that learns by analyzing vast chunks of text to find statistical regularities. Other programs of this nature, such as OpenAI’s GPT-3, have been shown to lack common-sense understanding and reflect societal biases found in their training data. GPT-3, for example, is consistently Islamophobic, associating Muslims with violence, and pushes gender stereotypes, linking women to ideas of family and men with politics.

These programs all rely on the internet to provide the data they need, and so, of course, absorb the many and varied human beliefs they find there, including the nasty ones. Ask Delphi is no different in this regard, and its training data incorporates some unusual sources, including a series of one-sentence prompts scraped from two subreddits: r/AmITheAsshole and r/Confessions. (Though to be clear: it does not use the judgements of the Redditors, only the prompts. The judgements were collected using crowdworkers who were instructed to answer according to what they think are the moral norms of the US.)

These systems aren’t without their good qualities, of course, and like its language model brethren, Ask Delphi is sensitive to nuances of language that would have only baffled its predecessors. In the examples in the slides below, you can see how it responds to subtle changes in given situations. Most people, I think, would agree that it responds to these details in interesting and often valid ways. Ignoring an “urgent” phone call is “rude,” for example, but ignoring one “when you can’t speak at the moment” is “okay.” The problem is that these same sensitivities mean the system can be easily gamed, as above.

If Ask Delphi is not a reliable source of moral wisdom, then, what is its actual purpose?

A disclaimer on the demo’s website says the program is “intended to study the promises and limitations of machine ethics” and the research paper itself uses similar framing, noting that the team identified a number of “underlying challenges” in teaching machines to “behave ethically,” many of which seem like common sense. What’s hard about getting computers to think about human morality? Well, imparting an “understanding of moral precepts and social norms” and getting a machine to “perceive real-world situations visually or by reading natural language descriptions.” Which, yes, are pretty huge problems.

Despite this, the paper itself ricochets back and forth between confidence and caveats in achieving its goal. It says that Ask Delphi “demonstrates strong promise of language-based commonsense moral reasoning, with up to 92.1 percent accuracy vetted by humans” (a metric created by asking Mechanical Turkers to judge Ask Delphi’s own judgements). But elsewhere states: “We acknowledge that encapsulating ethical judgments based on some universal set of moral precepts is neither reasonable nor tenable.” It’s a statement that makes perfect sense, but surely undermines how such models might be used in the future.

Ultimately, Ask Delphi is an experiment, but it’s one that reveals the ambitions of many in the AI community: to elevate machine learning systems into positions of moral authority. Is that a good idea? We reached out to the system’s creators to ask them, but at the time of publication had yet to hear back. Ask Delphi itself, though, is unequivocal on that point:

Update, Monday October 25th, 5:50AM ET: In a statement given to The Verge, the Allen Institute said: “The key objective of our Delphi prototype is to study the potential and the limitations of language-based commonsense moral models. We do not propose to elevate AI into a position of moral authority, but rather to investigate the relevant research questions involved in the emergent field of machine ethics. The obvious limitations demonstrated by Delphi present an interesting opportunity to gain new insights and perspectives—they also highlight AI’s unique ability to turn the mirror on humanity and make us ask ourselves how we want to shape the powerful new technologies permeating our society at this important turning point.”

Correction, 12:29PM ET: An earlier version of this article implied that Ask Delphi’s training data included the responses of Redditors to ethical questions; it was only trained on the questions themselves.



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Computing

27-inch Monitor Black Friday Deal 2021: Best Offer Today

If upgrading the display of your desktop PC is on your to-do list, Dell has the best 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal you can buy right now. This Black Friday deal knocks the price of the Dell 27-inch monitor down to just $175, saving you 75 bucks. The best Black Friday deals are in full swing, so there’s no time to waste if your workstation could use an upgrade, and of all the Black Friday monitor deals on tap today, this 27-inch Dell SE2722H might be our favorite.

Today’s best 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal

Why buy:

  • No-frills display with immense value for money
  • Slim bezels reduce distractions
  • Built-in power supply saves space
  • Functions well for both work and play

Everybody knows Dell for its workhorse Windows PCs, but this brand also makes some of the best monitors on the market in 2021. The Dell SE2722H is a solid, no-frills display that offers a lot of value (especially at this price). Its 27-inch 1080p panel is a nice size if you want something larger than standard 21- to 24-inch monitors but one of the best ultra-wide monitors would be too much for your workspace — and too much for your wallet!

The Dell SE2722H 27-inch monitor sports a nice, slim-bezel design with even LED edge-lighting. Its slim housing also has a built-in power supply, so you don’t have any power brick to deal with like you with many other displays. The panel can be adjusted up or down on its stand, and you can tilt it between -5 degrees to +21 degrees to dial in the perfect viewing angle. It’s also compatible with VESA mounts if you have another mounting setup you prefer to use.

The Dell SE2722H isn’t one of the best gaming monitors by any stretch, but with a 75Hz refresh rate via HDMI and AMD FreeSync technology, it’s not a bad pick for a work monitor that you can also use for some light, casual gaming. FreeSync reduces annoyances such as stuttering and screen-tearing (a problem where the picture loses horizontal sync, making it look “torn”) during fast-paced action scenes — a nice feature to see on a budget monitor like this.

That means the Dell SE2722H display, while built for work, can also handle some entertainment when you’re off the clock and ready to kick back for a while. Dell’s built-in ComfortView feature also reduces harsh blue and white light in the evening hours, reducing eye strain and helping you wind down for the day. All in all, this is a great all-around desktop display and the best 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal up for grabs today at a very affordable $175.

When does this 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal end?

While Dell doesn’t provide an exact end date for this 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal, we’ve learned a few things from prior years that might give you an idea. First, since this is Black Friday deal, there’s a good chance it won’t continue into the weekend. On top of that, Dell probably has a limited number of these monitors in stock for this particular deal, so the longer you wait, the likelier it is that these deals will be sold out. With so many people buying PCs or computer parts over the holiday season, you can expect high-quality monitors like this one to be in high-demand as well. That’s why we think this deal will only last until the end of the day, or possibly even earlier.

If this 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal is precisely the upgrade you’ve been looking for, then we strongly suggest buying it right now. This deal could be gone at any time during the day, either because Dell decides to pull the plug or they’ve run out of monitors to sell. If you manage to find a better deal on a 27-inch monitor later today, you can always cancel your order since it probably won’t be processed yet. Go to Dell’s website right now and start getting more productive with this fantastic 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal.

Should you shop this 27-inch monitor Black Friday deal or wait until Cyber Monday?

There’s a chance that the price of the Dell SE2722H will go lower on Cyber Monday, but it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of this Black Friday deal from Dell if you want to purchase the 27-inch monitor. That’s because what usually happens is that Black Friday deals are rebranded as Cyber Monday deals, depending on what is still available. Waiting for bigger discounts on Cyber Monday opens you up to the risk of missing out on the offers for the Dell SE2722H due to depleted stocks.

What you should do is to purchase the 27-inch Dell monitor on Black Friday to secure it, but keep an eye out for any new offers that may appear on Cyber Monday. If you don’t see any better deals, then at least you’re sure that the Dell SE2722H is on its way to you. If there’s a lower price, you can cancel your purchase from Black Friday to take advantage of the new deal.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Game

Twitch increases the number of custom emotes affiliate streamers can offer

Emotes are a great way to add character and distinctiveness to a Twitch community — they can also get casual viewers to pay for subscriptions. A Twitch affiliate who’s just starting out, however, used to only have a single custom emote slot. Now, the livestreaming website has upped the initial number of emote slots to five, based on affiliates’ feedback. That means streamers can offer five custom emotes from the get-go, simply by meeting the bare requirements needed to become part of the affiliate program. In all, affiliates can earn nine slots for custom emotes by reaching certain subscription milestones. 

Twitch is also carrying the change over to its partner program, increasing the slots available for them, as well. To be able to apply for partner status, an affiliate must reach a certain number of streaming hours, views and subscribers. Even then, they might not get in. That’s why giving potential subscribers more incentive in the form of emotes could help beginners reach their goal sooner and earn more money.

The website has also given affiliates the capability offer animated emotes to their community. They’ll start with one slot and can unlock up to five as their audience grows. Those who can’t afford to pay an artist to create animated emotes for them can use the website’s Easy Animate feature to quickly convert static emotes into animated versions for free. These updates have started rolling out to Twitch streamers and will be reaching everyone in the coming weeks. 

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Categories
Game

Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals offer up some rare discounts

Nintendo today revealed the Black Friday deals it’ll be offering when the time comes later this month. Nintendo is typically hesitant to give games and consoles any kind of discount, making Black Friday one of the few times to buy each year. Unfortunately, many of these deals are similar or even outright the same as sales we’ve seen in years past, though there are still some significant discounts to be found.

A familiar Switch bundle and game discounts

If you’ve been around for past Black Fridays, then the Switch bundle at the center of Nintendo’s deals will be instantly familiar to you. Once again this year, Nintendo is offering a bundle that includes the standard Switch, a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and a three-month Nintendo Switch Online individual membership for $299.99.

That is the same price the Switch usually sells at as a standalone product, so by picking up the Black Friday bundle, you’re essentially getting the game and a three-month NSO subscription for free, saving about $68 in the process. It isn’t a bad deal by any means, but we’d like to see more bundle options beyond just Mario Kart 8 Deluxe one of these years.

Nintendo has also confirmed that a variety of first-party Switch games will be discounted during Black Friday, shaving $20 off their purchase price. Games included in this sale are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Super Mario Maker 2, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Kirby Star Allies, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Astral Chain, and finally, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.

Read More: Fire Emblem: Three Houses reviewFinally, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and Ring Fit Adventure will be getting some significant price cuts for Black Friday, with the former dropping to $59.99 ($40 off) and the latter dropping to $54.99 ($25 off).

We don’t often see sales on certain Nintendo games, so this is an excellent chance to stock up on some titles that only get rare discounts. Breath of the Wild, in this case, is one of the best examples, as discounts on that are infrequent at best even though it was a launch title for the Switch. Other games worth prioritizing during this sale include Super Mario Maker 2 and Fire Emblem: Three Houses if you don’t already own them. All of these deals will be available beginning November 21st.

No Switch OLED or digital game deals?

The Switch OLED is nowhere to be seen in this batch of Black Friday deals, with the standard Switch featured in Nintendo’s Black Friday bundle. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that Nintendo just launched the Switch OLED back at the beginning of October. We’re in the middle of a global silicon shortage at the moment too, so Nintendo is likely selling Switch OLED units as fast as it can make them.

There’s very little reason for Nintendo to discount the Switch OLED during Black Friday with all of that in mind. We may see it included in next year’s Black Friday deals – perhaps in a game bundle of its own – but don’t expect to see anything in the way of significant discounts on the Switch OLED before then.

Still, if you can find a Switch OLED in stock, it might be worth purchasing that instead of the standard Switch bundle, even with the Black Friday deal. In our review of the Switch OLED, we found that while it makes a poor upgrade for those who already own a Switch, it’s the one to buy for folks who are purchasing a Switch for the first time.

There aren’t many differences between the standard Switch and the Switch OLED, but the few that exist are worth considering. The Switch OLED comes packed with an improved dock, better audio, more onboard storage, and a better kickstand that should be much more stable when using it in tabletop mode.

However, the most significant difference is in the display, with the Switch OLED touting a larger, more colorful OLED display compared to the standard Switch’s LCD. The difference between the two is big, so even though it won’t be available at a discount, it could certainly be worth buying the Switch OLED anyway, especially if you anticipate playing a lot in handheld mode.

And what about digital games? The game discounts Nintendo announced today apply to retail games, so does that mean we won’t see any discounts on games sold through the Switch eShop? On the contrary, Nintendo said today that there will also be digital deals on offer through the Switch eShop, but the timing and featured games will be announced later this month. We’ll stick a pin in that for now and come back to it when Nintendo reveals more in the future.

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Game

Roblox will offer layered clothing and facial gestures for more realistic avatars

Roblox wants to make its avatars look less blocky and more realistic, and it has announced a couple of visual updates meant to achieve that goal during its annual developers conference. One of those changes is layered clothing, which it’s been working on since at least 2020. It allows any type of character model to be outfitted with layered clothing items. TechCrunch explains that the feature ensures clothing items will fit avatars and will drape around them naturally, whether they’re human- or dinosaur-shaped. At the moment, players can only access the feature in the beta version of Roblox Studio’s avatar editor, and it’s unclear when it’ll be more widely available.

Roblox CEO David Baszucki said during the keynote:

“Self-identity is a crucial pillar of the metaverse, and the ability to precisely customize your clothing to your unique avatar is paramount in personal expression”

Roblox has also announced a feature called Dynamic Heads that can provide facial animations for avatars. The animations could link with facial tracking, so the character’s mouth can move in time with its words. TechCrunch says the feature was made possible by the company’s acquisition of digital avatar startup Loom.ai last year. 

It’ll be a long time before facial animations become an official part of the game, though — Roblox has only given developers access to it right now, so they can play around with it and test it out. “These releases represent important stepping stones in a long line of innovations to improve the expressiveness and combinatorics in the metaverse,” Daniel Sturman, Chief Technology Officer for Roblox, wrote in his recap for the event.

In addition to the experimental avatar features, Roblox has announced that it’s giving creators a new way to earn money, as well. Creators will be able to put up items they designed for sale for a limited time, turning them into collectibles with higher value than the other goods they’re selling in-game.

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Game

Twitch will offer (a little) more data on why it suspends users

Twitch has announced that it will offer slightly more detail to users when it hands down suspensions for violating its content rules. As The Verge notes, the Amazon-owned platform can still be frustratingly vague when justifying why a users account has been suspended. The new update will see users informed of the name of the offending stream, the date that it aired, and the rule that it broke, but nothing more.

Opaque moderation has been a problem for Twitch before, and as we reported last year, the site still has a problem with context. In 2020, the platform suspended a professional Valorant player when their young child appeared on the stream while the player was answering the door. There are common-sense reasons to ban minors from streaming, but this was clearly an accident rather than intentional.

A similar incident took place when Twitch, without warning, suddenly demonetized a number of high-profile accounts during the Hot Tub Meta. At the time, it said that it should have “alerted affected streamers to this change before it happened — it was a mistake not to do so.” As we wrote in 2020 the site needs to make much more of an effort to explain why it’s doing what it’s doing or else see the relationship with its community deteriorate even further.

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AI

AI vendors must offer more solutions for niche use cases

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


Most AI vendors develop solutions that target broad use cases with large markets. This is because investors have shown they are only interested in a target market if it is worth several billion dollars. Therefore smaller markets have been excluded, and AI solution ideas designed for niche markets often die out and the companies behind them come to a standstill before they have the chance to see the light of day.

Another side effect of the limited capital to build niche models is that AI vendors tend to build one model and market it to a large set of disparate users. For example, a company selling a vehicle detection system would normally build a single model to detect all types of vehicles across multiple use cases and geographies. An animal detection model typically would detect many different animals and have lower accuracy than a model designed to detect a single animal. These broad-reach products result in lower model accuracy and erode public trust in AI’s capabilities. They also require that humans remain in the loop for verification, consuming more human resources and increasing the overall cost of the solution for customers.

The reason investors focus on broad-reach solutions is that niche solutions are very costly to produce. In order to make a model for a niche use case, you need data that is very specific to it. And collecting data while addressing all of the relevant regulations and security concerns is a big challenge.

And even if a vendor is able to develop a model for a niche use case, the challenge isn’t over, because an AI model is rarely a standalone solution — it often relies on a number of external components. And the more niche your model, the more niche the components of the solution will be. For example, in the case of computer vision or vision AI, some critical components include:

  1. Camera setup and management
  2. AI Model management and updates
  3. Dealing with video storage and data retention policies
  4. Alerts and notification rules
  5. Role based access control for users

Running the AI model at one of the steps in the software stack is a very small piece of the puzzle. The bulk of an AI vendor’s time goes to building the rest of the software stack to handle the devices and other services that make a complete solution.

And then there are compliance and security issues to consider. Any AI solution a vendor sells has to be comply with different regulations in different geographies and must be secure. Handling those requirements is a big task for any company. This gets even more difficult if the company or developers have to deal with uncharted waters with no prior solution existing in their space. In such cases they may have to go to the local, state, or central government to navigate laws about deploying AI solutions.

Given that most lawmakers are not technology experts, it takes time to get regulations passed and adopted. This can be a slow process, risking the viability or success of such projects if the company does not have deep pockets to wait it out.

Making AI available for niche use cases

So how can the AI vendor community overcome these challenges to bring solutions to the many niches where broad-reach products don’t apply?

1. Build a customer council with friendly customers. In order to handle the data-collection challenge I outlined above, AI vendors should aim to find friendly customers who can help. Such customers can not only provide some of the necessary data; they can also help vendors put the right structure in place for data collection and management. In return, vendors should offer the solution to them at a very low cost. As the initial customer council, they can take pride in building a useful solution for others.

2. Avoid building from scratch. Some vendors decide to build everything themselves using existing software libraries and core infrastructure services from a cloud vendor. This approach provides complete control over the design but can take almost a year to build. The initial goal should be to build a solution quickly and take it to market for testing. The solution can always be improved or optimized later, after initial customers and early adopters have been established. Some solutions have emerged to increase go-to-market time. For example, AWS Panorama and Microsoft Percept have launched various solutions for edge deployments to help build AI solutions using existing or smart cameras. These devices especially help with deployment of AI models on the edge closer to the devices. In general, look for platforms that enable quick transition from AI model to full solution.

3. Build an AI/ML pipeline. AI vendors can build pipelines that allow them to quickly train models on specific data sets. They should design a pipeline so that the data used to build specific models can be easily tracked in order to make it easier to add new data from customers as it is available. There are several solutions in this space already like Kubeflow, AWS Sagemaker, GCP AI pipelines that mean you can avoid building a pipeline from scratch.

The bottom line

There’s a lot of talk about democratizing artificial intelligence to make it more available to more user organizations. Currently we have many broad-reach AI models on the market for things like human detection and voice recognition. But the models are so generic that they run the risk of being inaccurate. To increase precision and accuracy of AI, and to make it usable to a wider range of organizations, we must enable a long tail of AI models that are designed for niche use cases. Although the current cost of developing such niche models and taking them to market is currently too high, we must find ways to break that barrier.

 Ajay Gulati is CTO of vision AI company Kami Vision.

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